Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pigs are Freeeeeeeeeeee

First thing this morning i opened the gate and they took off almost airborne. They ran out to the front pasture and I followed behind them with camera in hand and to make sure the horses didn't spook. We all got around the back and then they took off again and so darn cute that when they spotted me they all came racing back. This was not a sign of affection but rather I was a safety check point cause once checked in they took off in all directions. Some checking out the horses , some the barn and Soda went up and down the manure pile. Scotch is in love with my quarter horse and i had to herd him away from her a few times. As you can see from the final picture once i put them away he went for a dip in the mud wallow and cooled his hot and bothered self off. ;o))

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Soda's herd and Penny

After breakfast i went in with the herd and sat down and read a wonderful little book to them. I showed them the pictures and within 45 minutes all the pigs were laying in the sun surrounding me. From my front porch it looks waves of pigs ! No tears today...

I also put the carpet out for Penny again to encourage her to walk out in the sun and get some much needed exercise in doing so. Every day Penny, we must do our laps!!

The Herd

If you look at the pictures from my last post you will see the mother pig Soda leading the way out of the trailer. She is the Queen B and has adapted to the change like she knew it was going to happen all along and her presence is one of "i am the boss " and she makes no qualms about presenting herself this way. Yesterday while loving on some of her babies she basically cut in between me and them long enough to give me a head rub , get a pat and then barreled right threw us. She is adorable in her bossy royal ways.

Scotch the father has also been busy letting everyone know on the other side of the fence that he is the dominant male. He has been posturing the farm pig next door , the dog and then the horses.

There off spring are a mix of wide eyed curiosity and i think they are stimulated by the fact of being so close to everything that is going on around the big house. There mission home is quite a bit more rural then i am and there paddock is right out front and backs onto the driveway. With every visitor they race to the fence line showing off there cute selves looking for treats of course.

Pigs once moved even from the worse circumstances will go into a depression for a few days. I see no large signs of this , it is no doubt the comfort in being with there herd and the leadership of there parents. There will be a few stages they go threw over the next few weeks so i am quiet and move slow around them.

However pigs cry real tears when they are sad and i have addressed a few tear streaked cheeks over the years. I am sure the innocence of there young understanding of things would be questions such as "why am I here, I didn't eat much or take up much room , I was a good pig and where is the rest of my family" and of course "i want to go home" .

Years ago Barney had been abandoned by his family and he found himself at the shelter. When he was out with me here his nose was too the ground and as i walked the acreage he simply followed. If i stopped he would bump right into me and twice he gently grabbed my pant leg and tugged at it in frustration. He was not exploring or looking for things to eat he was simply following me. He was like this when out on his own , I would watch him walking at a pace with a mission he had set out to do and for the first week or so i think he was trying to find home.

One of the young pigs has been crying and yesterday morning i saw the tear streaked cheeks and again in the afternoon. I try explain to them in a way a young child would understand but no amount of explaining can remove heart break for anyone. My tears fall on his bristles yesterday and it is how we started our day.

I will continue to spend most of my free time with them to build up there confidence and show them my love. I received a wonderful little book in the mail i will tell you all about and this is one I am going to read to them today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I start every morning with a cup of coffee here and catch up on pig sanctuary news some from Canada but mostly the United States. It seems that after every large rescue up springs another but somewhere out there some one is giving there all to do right by the animals discarded by humanity. Some one driving 100's of miles , finding the funds, finding the holding places, arranging the spay and neuters then more transports and then finding forever homes.

One little pig out of a herd of 30 plus travelling 1000's of miles and across several states , blood work , tagged and requiring emergency surgery finds his little self in the home of a well respected Vet. Can it get any better!!??

The day before the arrival here of 12 more pigs has had me pretty keyed up. In a flap and getting to close with out anything done i hired two guys out of the paper Tuesday morning to start the fencing. And after a nice chunk of change i sent them on there way the following day. Gates were not there specialty but at least the fence was started. Thursday after they left i spent returning my carport back to normal after tearing this place a part to find every 2"x6" i had so the only fencng materials i needed to purchase was the wire. Friday was a trip to the dump, buy a truck load of hay for bedding and then pick up 400 lbs of pelleted feed for the week. After putting it away it was all i could do and for some reason i was at peace with this.

I went out to feed the horses and start to mix dinner for the pigs at the barn. Grabbing a 50lb bag of feed i went to toss it into a empty feed bin and something made me stop. I put down the bag and looked into the tub only to see a young little furcoat in a ball trying very hard to hide at the bottom of an empty blue rubber made garbage tub. Now i wish he would find another place to dine as i set him free in my hay stall and i will have to figure out how he got in there and stop him from returning. But thank goodness i looked first!!

This morning i woke to knowing by some miracle both sheds would need to be moved, ramps made and the balance of the fencing done. I was at ease when i sat here and drank my cup of coffee this morning and then one by one help started to arrive. My sister, Paula and her husband Jim, Brian who comes to check on my guinea's for me,Morris a new friend, Joe and his buddy Andrew of all days stopped into help do some pruning for me and walla we had our crew.

Paula and i cleaned the piggy paddocks , Nancy did the horses and hten Mom arrived and made everyone grilled cheese sandwiches. Noon had arrived and most leaving Joe and Andrew to finish the project. they did it and in record time. Some thing about men and power tools!!

Everyone had goodies today as Susan and Wendy have been grabbing stuff from bakeries all week and drying it out for a crunchy snack for the pigs, horses included!! Wendy even brought me a beautiful pot of yellow flowers. ;o)))

By 2:30 everyone was gone and although i have some work to do in the morning a miracle happened on 232nd Street!!

God has provided us with Angels on earth to complete a home for 12 little pigs here today. He started this two weeks ago with a garage sale but in reality He started this with a little black pig who arrived here a long time ago on a cold winter day.

Oh yes we do have Angels surrounding us and i feel Blessed for such an awesome day!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Art Show "Where are the pigs, where are they? "

Hope everyone can find the time to stop by and check out these amazing artists – especially my friend Diana Durrand’s show relating solely to pigs! She will be working with Hearts on Noses – not-for-profit Pig Sanctuary in Maple Ridge and supporting my BC SPCA Putt For Paws golf tournament in July. Please forward to all animal loversJ

Thanks for your support.

Printmaker Jo-Ann Sheen and painter Diana Durrand will open their joint show at the Fort Gallery on Friday, May 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. Please join the artists and their friends for an evening of fine art and conversation.

Jo-Ann's portraits explore the interaction between our complex inner selves and the selves we offer others. Facial expressions, hand gestures, a thousand subtle signals convey the non-verbal clues to our identities. Diana's show, Where are the pigs, where are they? reveals the intelligent, playful and endearing side of a species that has been denigrated through the ages.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

There is no " Chance"

This morning I received a wonderful email full of love from someone far away and he spoke about loosing his canine companion , O'Malley. His words stirred many emotions but the one that lingers is gratitude.

The sun is shining and i await the fencers who i hired in a flap yesterday. I was so far away from being ready for the 12 piggers who will be moving here hopefully on Sunday. So as i fret about the area not being ready yet , the large shed needing to be moved into a better position and the area not being big enough i get an email. One which has sent me a message unknowingly of gratitude , and so i am . I am forever in a perpetual state of having to do more , build more, help more and question all that i do and wish i had more of everything in order to build better and help bigger.

I am always 'okay', "we" the pigs and I seem to be taken care of when we need it the most. We are never rich or have too much but we always seem to have what we need. Someone or something comes into our lives exactly when we need it the most.

So today , I will cherish the sun and all that i have done and all that have helped me do it.

Thank you for loving the animals, thank you for all that you do to make change for a better tomorrow and thank you for helping us do our part here every day.

And O'malley thank you for letting me see it and so today a pciture of a little great dog my Jingle Bell who is one of the spirit herd coems threw loud and clear today. Thank you too!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Love and Sunshine

Wow time flies when your spending nights at one end of the town and racing back here in the morning. Spent four nights at Jeans getting to know the herd that will be moved here soon. Such lovely little pigs and Jean must help me figure out who is who as i only can identify 6 of them right now. I brought out huge bags of popcorn, carrots and cheeses for treats. ;o)) It was exhausting for some reason going back and forth but in the evening when everyone was fed and safe i sat back in an outside chair in the dark and listened to an amazing chorus by the frogs every night. The stars are bright and the air is fresh . My last night there Jeans lone coyote was calling out for his pack across the street and then her cat racing around in the attic had me thinking a bear was up there.

Travelling back from Mission i go right by the Black Sheep Pub and walla the truck was there to grab the shed donated by Andrew the owner there. I haven't been this excited in a long time , it was all going to happen!! I thought what a good story about the community coming together this would make and called the Maple Ridge Times and hoped Amy could get down here! Every piece of this plan fell together as Shelly & I sobbed in happiness , Pete's crew from Superior Home Movers put all there equipment to work. This crew is totally friendly, professional and skilled at there work. And Amy took pictures of all of it !!

We had front page exposure in the our little local paper and a lady who read our article is going to donate 50.00 and another Annis has already been down here to help me here!

The big shed will need to be moved again , hopefully this week-end and then fencing around it. The crane could only go in so far with my power lines right there. A ton of work , i pray for a good turn out this week-end and good weather.

Shelly who orchestrated all of this has been back with her son and came with a case full of apples and a cheque to sponsor Comet. Can it get any better??? The garage sale has been one of great fortune for the pigs and I this time!

Stephanie is a 16 year old volunteer and after we all did piggy paddock clean up called her family to come and help take down the shelving in the shed and a steel security door yesterday. Way to go Steph!!! So that project is done !

I will have to get a load of hay in for the pigs and horses both for feed and bedding this week while the weather holds out. All the pigs need hay added to there houses . Do some measuring and see what i need in wire fencing material, a gate kit and measure the large opening in the new area for the purchase of a large farm gate. We still need access in there to remove all these sheds when i sell or for brush removal ect.

Once the new kids are settled then i must bring in a few units of bark mulch , dress the gates with new flowers and get this place looking pretty again now that winter is behind us.

Pigs need hoof work and Don must get neutered and then i better get back in the working world again!!

I am starving now, tonight i eat before they do and that doesn't happen that often!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter !!!

This is Poppy who lives with her loving Mom In England, I am sure she won't mind me sharing her cute self this Easter morning!!

Short post today, I have work to do!!

Edited to add "FORGET THAT" I will play in the house today it is pouring out here!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Life in Sanctaury

It took all week really to get this place organized again after a two day sale. Loads went to the Hospital Thrift Store and a load went on to the curb offering freebies to passersby. Cardboard boxes all broken down and flattened ready to go recycles filled half of the box of my pick up. Putting away tables and plywood used to make more and then loaded everything else around here that needed to go to the dump.

Carport Penny came out for a afternoon stroll so i stopped everything and ran for the tape measure and a good carpet cutter. Measuring Tortilla's floor of his house first and then Penny could have the bulk of the left over. It was a perfect size roll so i dragged all of Penny's bedding out , rolled up the foam and carpet and heaved it into the truck. I washed the thick rubber mat between that and the cement floor of the carport too as Little miss wets her bed on occasion. So a layer of carpet, layer of plastic and then another throw carpet we also grabbed from the estate sale. Hoping the plastic will save the main piece and i will only have to toss the throw. Then a nice thick sleeping bag and by the time i was finished Penny came over to inspect my work and fell into a very cozy bed. The weather was nice that day but i covered her with a baby blue blanket and tucked her in and she responded in her delight with soft gentle oofs. A little shift as she settles her self and a kiss seals the job.

We have an offer threw Shelly who works at the Black Sheep Pup for a shed sitting behind the old pub. Its only at most two blocks away, the trick now is getting it here. We have an offer from Superior Home movers to move it so i hope this is going to happen fast. This shed is one of two homes we will set up for the herd coming in that Jean has been taking care of for me.

My foster Mom is going to the island for four nights to check on her new home and we had hoped to have this all buttoned down before then. With another day going by and Jeans travel plans approaching this coming Monday it looks like I will be doing sleep overs in Mission until she returns. I need to be there to look after my pigs as without the presence of her four dogs and wildlife ever present I will not risk them to coyotes digging under or jumping over fences once there threat( the dogs) has been removed.

Ummm Jean has a cell phone so that means no phone.. she has a lap top so that means no computer and how many channels do you get??? lol

I haven't quite figured out my routine here yet as Mom offered to sleep over here and of course no way can she feed them all at 86 years old. So as far as here goes, breakfast will be served late when i get back here and dinner early so i can get back to Mission.

By next morning the stuff on the street was picked threw sort of and the thought of loading all of that into the truck was sickening but it had to be done too. More card board to flatten and i remembered to pull down my yard sale signs in the neighborhood on the way to the dump as well.

This morning i started with good intentions around here but i got to tell you i am really stiff and sore from this past week! My sister came over switching her day as she will be busy tomorrow and cleaned up around the barn all morning. I started on the farm pigs pens and then hung up one of those hose hangers at there side of the house and replaced the crappy hose we had there.

Visitors to the Sanctuary arrived at different times all day so the pigs were happy to see friends with buckets of cut up apples and carrots and then grapes by another. And by 3:30 my eyes were getting very very sleepy.

Saturday is volunteer work party day and with it being the long week-end i don't really expect a good turn out. I do hope to get the pens all cleaned and start marking out where the posts will go and measure up for gates for the new pen. And maybe just maybe the shed will get delivered, keep your fingers crossed !!

I have got to sell this place as we need way more room then we have now. Another pen takes more land away from the horses and precious grazing land will turn to dirt with the amount of pigs who also graze and root here.

Prayers please, as we need the universe to unfold for us now!

Monday, April 6, 2009

So much work!!

Sunday my Mom and my sister returned early as with so much stuff left we decided to go a second day. With the ad in the paper and all my signs saying different I had to at least go find my signs and add Sunday to all of them. There was an estate Sale up the street so this would have the customers travelling this way again, now i needed a way to get them back down here.

Although i could barely walk from being on my feet so long that last three days i too wanted to go to the estate sale and see if there were any wheel barrows for sale. The nicest girls were working that and i was told to come back after there sale ended at 2:00 and i could have the carpets, all the blankets and the sleeping bags if they didn't sell.

We weren't as busy but we are all exhausted and by 2:00 Mom called Diane to come on down and get what she wanted for the Hospital Thrift Store and Nancy and i raced up to the estate sale.

Tortilla who is 16 years old now and like all hoofed animals is having trouble getting up in his house. Hard flat surfaces don't have any grab for hooves no matter how much bedding is in there and he just doesn't have the strength he once had. So a small roll of carpet will be divided today between Tortilla and Carport Penny that we netted from the estate Sale.

We came home with the carpet and a bag of blankets and half dozen sleeping bags, sheets that will be cut up for misc rags and wipes and i lucked out on three good barn coats .

By then it was time to start tearing down the sale and the four of us worked till 5 and until we could do no more. Dianne left with a car load , we have a load to go on the street for free and lastly one for the Women's in Need Thrift and nothing will be saved for another one this year.

Thankfully when Maggie and Jerry came yesterday they brought enough yams and apples for everyone dinner and today there is a good days work with what is left to do, take care of the two special needs pigs and get my feed and produce we need for the week.

There will be no time to waste here as I have 12 more pigs coming in and with there foster Mom visiting yesterday and hashing out options of where to build i have decided once again to put them up front. We need a shed STAT for these kids!!

I am still pulled emotionally with this bonded family and may have to revisit the sanctuary principles if we do get any fantastic people who want to adopt once they arrive here. The truth is we, who truly love pigs are rare and hundreds of miles apart. Finding any home is easy finding ones who understands pigs and love them for who they are is not. The SPCA with a huge net work and advertising know this too and since we opened the shelters have learned the pigs will only be taking up there precious space with no adoptions in sight and contact us immediately now.

Pigs like all animals deserve to be loved and taken care of no different from our cats and dogs. They like to be brushed, praised , treated and covered up at night. They wag there tails when they are happy and cry real tears when they are sad. But with that comes the fact they fear restraint and closed spaces ,will not stand on a vet table to be examined and yet need the same care as any animal does. This puts a whole different dimension on how you have two work with these guys and this is one of the pigs biggest threats to quality care when families adopt with out educating themselves totally first hand.

I am alone pretty well during the week and adding to the current herd by almost 25% will require a serious look at how I run this sanctuary. Another 50 lbs of feed a night, bigger shopping lists and 40 lbs of apples or 25 lbs of carrots a night will not be enough any more. I will have to adapt and my routine is about to change BIG time and so will everyone around me.

Well back out there i go , the farm pigs have been kept in there paddocks since Wednesday when i started setting up and today will be there day all day as i promised them!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day One " The After Math"

Its just past midnight as i have just come in from feeding the kids who for the last hour have been single filing in out of here asking me oh so nicely to get moving!! After every one cleared out of here at about 5:30 i sat down on the couch and woke up at 9:30 lol.

The garage sale was a hoot , beautiful weather and with all the pigs out weaving threw our customers during the day i am sure added to there shopping experience here.

Comet the only pig who was warned on the average of every 30 minutes if he didn't behave would be put away. Him taking off with a bag of who knows what with young Stephanie chasing after him had me running for treats in order to swindle the bag out of his mouth. Then grabbing a mouth full of strung red berry Christmas garland and then the tug of war sending fake berries down the driveway well needless to say he kept us busy as well.

I saw many faces who support the garage sale , some new faces who support us and a visit by good friends with bags of goodies for the pigs and hugs from new ones. Nancy and Mom are great at selling , Paula was racing around championing the pigs and recruiting. Stephanie a great young lady who has only just started volunteering who is awesome , Helen and gosh her friends name leaves me were shopping like crazy and the boys Jim and Josh out working for the animals at the barn. And Diane who priced everything for us!!

Here is a few pictures from today, we will go one more day as we still have tons left so off to bed i go.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Garage Sale a Go!!

Quick note its late but i jsut got in and put up YARD SALE signs all over the place. Was I scared , in the dark by msyelf you ask..nope I had a hammer!!! LOL

I will check in when i wake to see if any one needs the address or directions but by 8:30 am I will be racing around here feeding and taking care of last minute things.

Tons of stuff , tables all over the driveway and something for everyone. And i don't plan on keeping any of this stuff after for another one so it is all priced to go!

Next week will be Operation Mission Herd , aquiring a shed, putting a fence around it and i need a miracle now!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We need this!!!

With the Mission Herd coming in pretty quick i am looking at this on craigs lsit to buy. It is huge 8'x 28' and a pretty penny as well. It is my wish that we can afford it and while the herd uses it until we move it will then be turned into the medical facility we so desperatley need here.

A shed this size will allow me to move all my medical supplies and a safe quarantine for sick or injured pigs. This will also provide a sterile place for our vets when emergenices come up.

2300.00 plus transport , if any one out there can help with costs or transport please let me know!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who has time to go to work!

Today was tackle the carport and get ready for the garage sale. Been doing this now for about ten years now , pretty well an annual fundraiser. And although the money is not great it is another way for me to spread the word for the animals who call this home with little cost except for my labour.

I pulled out all the tables from the back little shed and a sheet of plywood and have i told you everything i touch here weights an average of 50-100lbs LOL . Man those table's are heavy!! Big old ancient board room tables with the steel legs. And i began the daunting task of opening boxes full of treasures and folding cardboard . And the pigs are helping too by investigating things a pigs way such as chewing corners and "whats in this one? " until i had enough of re fixing stuff and boxes being dragged all over the place as surely there must be something to eat in there!

With the exception of George and Pebbles who had found there way in here threw an open door. Mom called and said she was bringing dinner so i sat down for a break at 4;00 before i had to feed all the kids dinner.

Speaking of dinner Mom and I dewormed all the pigs again yesterday using two jars of strawberry jam and five loafs of bread and just enough meds to do them all. Way quicker then cookies and received a tad better this time.

George was making himself all comfy here in the living room and when Mom was giving him a belly rub i got down to check his hooves. Reaching for the clippers i keep handy on the kitchen counter I clipped the tip of a dew claw and he never even budged. Pretty easy to figure out on the hooves of a pig what is nail and what is not. Sometimes i grab a 3" spike and while giving him a belly rub i can determine if it is the meat of the hoof or dead skin from growth by scraping at it to free up debris and expose the hard nail of the hooves. By familiarizing yourself with there hooves and investigating them every time they are laying down will quiet your heart as you gain the required knowledge and at the same time having them getting used to you working with them. With Mom continuing to love on him that little pig let me do all of his trotters with out one little grumble. What an good good pig to not fear me as this is the first time i have done this to him. And I wonder who had taken care of him so long ago. Long before the person who got him and brought him here with tusks penetrating threw both of his cheeks and into his mouth preventing him from being able to open his jaw all the way. Poor little George who would of felt the prick of those tusks years before they slowly grew, piercing further and further in threw his little face. Add to that as he lived intact all these years which only added to the stress he was already under . George had received the bottom of the barrel in animal care for any species and i thank God HONS is here to receive this little soul.

I took a picture of the tool i use to wire saw off tusks and the tusks that came off of George when he arrived here two years ago. I placed the pen to show you at what point they were inside of his mouth.

And that is my Mom who is 86 years old who would kill me if she saw this picture of her reaching for George but not only does she truly love me and the pigs she also helped feed them all tonignt with a little bucket in her frail hands. And not to forget that is her dog Nicky and my Buddy wondering waht all the fuss about pigs is.

Finally I have got to lead you to a fantastic Blog i discovered only because the Canine Blogger found me and trust me it is a hoot!!

p.s the couch will get turffed when i sell excuse the mess in here....